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LINKS IN THIS SECTION

- Offshore Company Formation
- Accountancy Services
- Financial Services

RELATED SECTIONS

- Taxation of Offshore E-commerce
- Regulation of Offshore E-commerce
- Offshore E-commerce Facilities
- Offshore E-commerce Applications

It was initially imagined that the Internet was an unregulated entity which was to some extent immune from normal legal process. This is, and was, far from the truth - the reality is that both at national and supra-national levels, the laws governing business operations apply to e-commerce and e-business just as much as they do to traditional methods of trade. However, some legal concepts which are normally well-defined have traditionally been slightly less clear cut on the Internet; for example, see our section on Tax Law.

Many branches of law impact the Internet, and especially offshore e-commerce, in addition to tax law: Intellectual Property, Company Law, Data Protection, Privacy, Commercial Law, Distance Selling, Product Liability, Financial Regulation, for example. Depending on its line of business, a company beginning to trade on the Internet needs to think carefully about its legal situation. Some particularly relevant aspects are as follows:

IP rights – covering the entitlement to copyright, royalties, patents etc, such rights are complicated by the combination of the international context of the Internet and the taxation implications for IP revenues.

Company law –- the rights and obligations of companies vary between jurisdictions. An awareness of these differences is essential for offshore e-commerce.

Data protection and privacy – rights of access and rules on data storage affect every company holding data on clients and customers. The EU's data protection regime is the most restrictive among major trading countries, and has already created difficulties for EU companies needing to share data with regions that don't have adequate protection. The EU adopts a 'safe harbour' principle, and US partners can qualify under the 'safe harbour' rules, but it is quite doubtful whether many offshore jurisdictions would qualify. Therefore it would probably be wise to ensure that offshore operations do not themselves house sensitive data-bases. The status of an offshore subsidiary which uses information from a protected (onshore) database for commercial purposes is hazy, and professional advice should be sought in particular situations.

The details given above are not meant as an exhaustive list but merely as a indication of the broad nature of the law governing electronic commerce. accepts no responsibility for actions taken or not taken as a result of material published on this site, which is provided simply to alert visitors to the need for care on legal matters. Any company considering an involvement in e-commerce or offshore is strongly advised to seek assistance from its legal and tax advisers.

For information about laws and taxes in force in offshore jurisdictions, please see the Lowtax.net Jurisdictions sections.

OFFSHORE PROFESSIONAL AND FINANCIAL SERVICES

- Offshore Company Formation - Forming an offshore company for E-commerce purposes.
- Accountancy Services - Professional services for offshore tax optimisation.
- Financial Services - Banking and financial support for offshore E-commerce.


 

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